Weekend Roundup: Is the West Abandoning Globalization?

As China establishes a new infrastructure investment bank for Asia and builds out the new Silk Road trading route westward to Turkey, the U.S. Congress is balking at trade agreements and retreating from the very global institutions that have been the pillars of the American-led order. The European project is unraveling as Greece is poised on the brink of default and an exit from the euro.

No doubt President Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership needs some fixing once on the “fast-track,” notably concerning the weight it gives to corporate prerogatives. But something more is going on. In Europe, too, there is mounting opposition to the proposed trans-Atlantic trade pact with the U.S., as well as the rise of anti-foreigner and anti-EU parties.

Is the West abandoning globalization and the post-war integration of Europe, a mutiny against what has provided its bounty?

Writing from Paris, Jacques Attali worries that the West has contracted the fatal disease of “dying civilizations” — procrastination and indecision. Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich explains why more Americans are turning against free trade. Political analyst Howard Fineman argues that the anti-globalization sentiment we’ve seen in Europe has arrived on American shores. Xenophobia has even spread to South Africa, Desmond Tutu writes. Writing from Istanbul, Kemal Dervis proposes how individuals can thrive under globalization if there is a new social contract.

As Greece teeters on the edge, IMF economist Olivier Blanchard calls on both creditors and the Greek government to compromise. James Galbraith responds that Greece has already sacrificed beyond its capacity to bear, and now it is the IMF’s turn. Jeffrey Sachs agrees that, at this point, Greeks are only —> Read More